San Diego revelers are notorious for hauling thrift store-worthy couches and chairs to the beach, drinking all night, and burning the furniture to the ground or leaving it in the sand when the sun comes up.
But a ban on taking household furniture to the shore is about to bring the celebration to an end starting Fourth of July weekend -- and police hope the change will cut down on the number of fights and complaints from residents.
With more than 500,000 people crowding the city's three beaches over the holiday weekend, spots in the sand are at a premium, and couches, end tables and even lamps are used to stake out party sites. Empty refrigerators are turned on their sides and left overnight until they are filled with beer and ice. San Diego is one of the few California cities to still allow drinking on beaches.
"You basically have people setting up whole living rooms on the beach," said Lou Scanlon, assistant chief of the San Diego Police Department. "It's not kitchen chairs you're talking about. You have people dragging out ripped-up couches, Barcaloungers and staking out their territory. You have the access issue, and it creates safety hazards."
Officials proposed outlawing drinking on city beaches earlier this year, but beachgoers balked, and the city compromised with the furniture ban. Police patrols will be doubled, and every available Harbor Patrol boat will be in the water to monitor the crowd. Bonfires will have to be snuffed out between midnight and 5 a.m. under the new rules.
-- Kimberly Edds